NEW DELHI: India is fast-tracking negotiations for proposed free trade agreements with certain developed countries like the UK as well as with the European Union, and maybe by this year end, the government would be able to give a final shape to few of these pacts, minister of state for commerce and industry Anupriya Patel said on Friday.
She also expressed hope that the trade pact with Australia would be operationalised "very soon".
India has already implemented a trade agreement with the UAE, and "we are fast-tracking our FTAs (Free Trade Agreements) with lot of other developed countries like the UK, and the EU- and maybe by this year end, we would be able to give a final shape to few of these," she said while launching the Indian Business Portal of exporters' body FIEO here.
The minister added that these agreements will create better opportunities for domestic businesses.
The portal is a B2B digital marketplace to empower SME (Small and Medium Enterprise) exporters, artisans and farmers to identify new markets for their products and grow their sales globally.
The minister said that the portal will address issues like digitising exporters, supporting MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) and encouraging greater exports of products made in India.
It is witnessed during the pandemic that online platforms such as e-commerce have shown immense potential in supporting millions of businesses to sustain themselves, she said.
Speaking at the function, Santosh Kumar Sarangi, Director General of Foreign Trade, said that tech-enabled governance will play a key role in determining India's growth and competitiveness.
A Sakthivel, president, FIEO (Federation of Indian Export Organisations), said that the platform will empower SME exporters to identify new markets for their products and grow their sales with new buyers.
Khalid Khan, vice president, FIEO, said that the portal would act as an international trade hub for Indian exporters and foreign buyers.
"The portal focuses on empowering MSMEs to leverage e-commerce and drive Indian exports to help us address the prime minister's vision of 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat' and 'vocal for local'," Khan said.